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Old March 26th, 2012, 09:44 AM   #1
Cal_Escapee
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SMART: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit) is a new rail line utilizing an old rail right of way paralleling the congested US 101 freeway. It is currently under construction with a planned opening in late 2015 or early 2016. At its southern terminus there will be ferry connections to San Francisco, made necessary by the depth of the Golden Gate straight which makes a rail tunnel impractically expensive and by the difficulty if not impossibility of adding any sort of rail to the Golden Gate Bridge.


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Old May 25th, 2012, 08:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
SMART concrete ties delivered to Santa Rosa

KENT PORTER/The Press Democrat
By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The first shipment of concrete ties to rebuild the rail line between Sonoma and Marin counties for passenger trains was delivered to Santa Rosa by rail Thursday, a milestone as construction gets under way.

“Everything we do from now on is a big step; it is finally happening,” said SMART Chairwoman Valerie Brown. “Now there is the expenditure of the money, the hiring of people. There are going to be a lot things that will be occurring that people will see. We are building a railroad.”

About a dozen people were at Railroad Square as the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. train rolled to a stop with the ties on a flatbed car. It also was hauling a couple of empty grain cars.

“This is real exciting, I like the sound,” said Nancy Hamilton of Santa Rosa. “I am excited about the train coming back.”

Andrea Jolicoeur of Santa Rosa was watching the trains with her children, Mina, 7, and Laszlo, 4.

“We saw the train here, so we stopped, because it is so rare and because we are excited about the trains coming through here again,” Jolicoeur said.

The ties are the first of 90,000 that will be used along the 38.5 miles of rail line between Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa and downtown San Rafael.

The first shipments of 30,000 ties will be stored at a construction yard set up in Railroad Square in Santa Rosa by the contracting firm Stacy and Witbeck Inc. The others will be stored in Rohnert Park and Petaluma.

Northwestern Pacific Railroad, which has been operating for about a year on the rail line, will be delivering most of the construction material for SMART's reconstruction project...
full article: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...tion-milestone
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Old October 9th, 2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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Source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com

Quote:
SMART looks to put train crossings on mute

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012 at 4:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 at 4:51 p.m.
SMART is spending $12 million on its train crossings to qualify them as quiet zones, where approaching trains may be exempted from blowing their horns.

It is up to the counties and individual cities, however, to weigh the safety factors and apply for to state and federal regulators for quiet zone designation.

"It is a balancing act," said Farhad Mansourian, general manager of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District. "If you are living next to the track, do you want the horn because it is the most effective safety measure? The gates come down and the lights flash and the bells ring, but there are always people who think they can beat the train."
Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...ree-crossings-
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Old October 10th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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Source: http://www.marinij.com/

Quote:
SMART rail work may have occurred without proper permits near San Rafael

By Mark Prado
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 10/09/2012 05:44:15 PM PDT

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit rail project may have run afoul of federal rules when work started in an area where endangered wildlife live near Gallinas Creek in San Rafael.

SMART's top official said he has launched an investigation to determine what occurred.

SMART crews last week began ripping up old rails and railroad ties along the creek as part of work to get the Marin-to-Sonoma commuter rail up and running.

The work is being done in areas where the federally endangered clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse are known to exist, local environmentalists said.
Read more: http://www.marinij.com/sanrafael/ci_...without-proper
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Old October 12th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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I've seen some construction work near Gallinas Creek wherein there were surveyors studying the land and nearby waterway... And now, that is reported? Makes me wonder where the fine line between environmental conservation and future construction is because I didn't know that the area close to the Civic Center has some endangered species living in there.
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Old October 17th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #6
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Source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com

Quote:
Third Street closed for SMART work near Santa Rosa's Railroad Square

By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 10:50 p.m.

Third Street in Santa Rosa at the railroad tracks just south of Railroad Square will be closed for two days, authorities said.

The closure took effect Tuesday evening and will be in effect through Thursday, said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Eric Goldschlag.

The street will be closed in both directions while the Sonoma-Marin Ara Rail Transit does track work, Goldschlag said.
Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...ailroad-Square
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Old October 17th, 2012, 11:44 PM   #7
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I just wish that railway upgrade works will come to Novato soon because I'm excited to see the trains running through north Marin County.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 09:47 AM   #8
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Pictures from SMART's railway rehabilitation and construction near Marin County Civic Center (at the future Civic Center Station) in San Rafael:



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Old November 2nd, 2012, 12:29 AM   #9
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Source: www.pressdemocrat.com

Quote:
Elevated rails for SMART crossing near Coddingtown 'not viable'

By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
Raising the train tracks to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross under them near Coddingtown is probably not feasible.

Instead, city staff is recommending that Santa Rosa study either building a bridge over the tracks or ground level crossing gates to help get people across the tracks.

"The option where they go under the tracks is too expensive, too time-consuming and not viable," said Rick Moshier, the city's director of transportation and public works.
Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...gtown-crossing
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 01:38 AM   #10
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building an elevated road overpass over the future SMART tracks will not only reduce accidents and similar incidents involving railroad crossings, but it will also reduce congestion caused by future rail traffic.
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 02:42 AM   #11
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Source: www.pressdemocrat.com

Quote:
SMART to buy more rail cars, increase schedule

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:46 p.m.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials Wednesday approved spending $6.6 million on an additional two-car train, improving service and raising the possibility of extending service to Airport Boulevard near Windsor.

With the extra cars, SMART officials said they will have enough trains to run passenger trains at 30-minute intervals to the Guerneville Road station in Santa Rosa, a station that will serve the most riders.

It also makes it possible to extend service farther north, to Airport Boulevard, if efforts to get more funds for track work are successful.
Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...rease-schedule
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Old December 26th, 2012, 11:45 PM   #12
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Source: www.marinij.com

Quote:
Rail work to start in Marin in 2013

By Mark Prado
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 12/25/2012 06:00:00 PM PST

Work on the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District commuter train will come to Marin in the new year and force the closure of several intersections in San Rafael and Novato as crossing improvements are made.

SMART's contractor Stacy Witbeck/Herzog will be replacing several railroad crossings in Marin in January and February.

Crossing upgrade work includes replacing the existing old wood crossings with smooth concrete panels and new track where it crosses the roadway. The new crossings will eliminate the bumpy surface and are safer to navigate for bicycles, wheelchairs and cars, according to SMART.
Read more: http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_222...marin-new-year
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Old January 1st, 2013, 12:08 AM   #13
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Source: www.marinij.com

Quote:
Novato SMART land swap could bring parking relief for downtown

By Janis Mara
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 12/28/2012 03:37:18 PM PST

A proposed land swap between the city of Novato and the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District would likely bring more parking to downtown, a possibility greeted with relief by merchants in the area.

Novato's city council will soon consider trading two pieces of land with the train agency for its two proposed Novato train stations in exchange for a portion of the historic downtown Novato Depot. The city would then likely create a temporary 60-spot municipal parking lot on that portion with hopes of developing it for commercial use someday.

The train agency would get the 1.98-acre piece of land at the corner of Rush Landing Road and Redwood Boulevard for its planned Novato North station, as well as a 4.10-acre parcel along B Street at Hamilton Field for its Novato South station. In exchange, the city would get the .86-acre piece of downtown land where the depot building currently sits.
Read more: http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_222...parking-relief
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Old January 1st, 2013, 06:30 AM   #14
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Now that will be very interesting to watch, especially that I live around 10 minutes away (by walking) to the future Hamilton Station in south Novato. I would really love to see that station area develop, and likewise too to the north Novato station close to downtown and the rest of the stations on the line. I hope I will get to use it when I start working full-time.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 01:21 AM   #15
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Source: www.pressdemocrat.com

Quote:
SMART gets $12.5 million to extend rail service to Airport Boulevard

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 4:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 8:23 a.m.
A key regional transportation committee on Wednesday approved $12.5 million for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit to rebuild the line as far north as Airport Boulevard and possibly add a new station there.

The funds were approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's programming and allocations committee.

On Jan. 23, the committee's action will go to the full MTC board, which usually follows those recommendations.
Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...ard-extension-
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Old January 20th, 2013, 02:52 AM   #16
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Source: www.pressdemocrat.com

Quote:
SMART OKs use of eminent domain to close rural Petaluma crossings

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:39 a.m.
The use of eminent domain powers was authorized by Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit directors Wednesday to obtain easements necessary to consolidate three rail crossings into one in south Petaluma.

It would be the district's first use of eminent domain — essentially the power of government to force owners to give up some or all of their private property rights.

Officials said the controversial process, which is infrequently used, may be necessary to provide the single crossing that is being required for safety reasons by the California Public Utilities Commission and to avoid leaving any of the owners landlocked.
Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...luma-crossings
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Old May 28th, 2013, 11:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
SMART seeks funding for San Rafael to Larkspur train segment

By Mark Prado
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 05/20/2013 05:47:32 PM PDT

An extension of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit commuter train service from San Rafael to Larkspur is slowly moving to the fore as officials open the door to seek federal funding for the work.

The rail agency will submit a letter to the Federal Transportation Administration requesting entry into its "Small Starts" program. The program funds new projects as well as extensions to commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, bus rapid transit, street cars and ferries.

The process is competitive, so SMART wants to have its paperwork ready to go and is embarking on plans to get it "shovel ready."
Read more: http://www.marinij.com/larkspurcorte...-train-segment
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Old September 30th, 2013, 05:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 12:17 pm
Federal grant will fund planning for SMART’s Larkspur extension
By Eric Gneckow, Business Journal Staff Reporter

PETALUMA — The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $2.5 million to the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit Authority to fund planning work for an extension of the North Bay’s upcoming passenger rail line from downtown San Rafael to Larkspur, the rail agency announced.

The project was one of 41 awards nationally through the FTA’s competitive “Small Starts” and “New Starts” funding programs, and will allow SMART to complete environmental review and final engineering for the so-called Larkspur extension, said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian.

Though final costs will be more narrowly determined after the expected completion of the project development phase in late 2014, the agency currently estimates the Larkspur segment to cost around $35 million, Mr. Mansourian said.

“It’s a great start,” he said. “The FTA will review our work and consider providing funding for construction, as long as we have a 20 percent match,” he said.

The FTA evaluates projects applying for funding through the Small Starts program based on factors like cost effectiveness, land use and economic development. Local match funding is also a factor, though Mr. Mansourian said that the recent grant does not include a local match.

The San Rafael-to-Larkspur segment is considered a priority in completing the full length of the SMART passenger rail corridor, which is ultimately envisioned to stretch 70 miles from the Larkspur ferry to the city of Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County....
full article: http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.c...pur-extension/
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 01:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
SMART train gets $11.4 million for extension to Larkspur
By MATT BROWN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
October 2, 2013, 4:08 PM

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has received an $11.4 million boost to extend commuter train service to the Larkspur ferry.

The Transportation Authority of Marin has voted to redirect funds from Regional Measure 2, which are raised from bridge tolls. The local dollars provide a key piece to a funding puzzle that includes federal grant money to complete the $40 million extension.

Last week, SMART announced the project had been accepted into an exclusive federal funding program for transportation projects. Projects qualifying for the Federal Transit Administration Small Start program, of which there are about 50 nationwide, require a minimum of 20 percent local matching funds.

“These funds are a critical component for federal funding eligibility by leveraging local funds,” SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said in a statement. “We are grateful to TAM’s board and staff for recognizing the importance of this project as part of the overall solution, and their action definitely makes the project more competitive at the federal level.”

The money, which still needs approval by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, includes $3 million to construct a permanent crossing at Andersen Drive in San Rafael. The MTC has not yet scheduled a vote to approve the funds.

The agency is currently working on the $2.5 million environmental and engineering phase of the extension project. That phase is expected to be completed by 2014, SMART said.

The 2.2-mile extension will bring riders to Larkspur’s Golden Gate Ferry terminal, which serves San Francisco’s Ferry Building and AT&T Park during Giants home games.

Trains on the 39-mile Santa Rosa to San Rafael section are expected to run starting in 2016. SMART is continuing to look for funding to extend the line north to Cloverdale.
http://pressdemocrat.com/article/201...on-to-Larkspur
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Old December 11th, 2013, 08:18 PM   #20
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I always thought an airport station would be a good idea. It will provide visitors to the area a great transportation option to get to the surrounding cities without a rental car or cab. Of course, they will only be able to travel south for awhile.

Quote:
Funding OK could extend SMART to airport
By MATT BROWN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
December 10, 2013, 4:50 PM

A commuter rail station could be built near the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport if a regional transportation panel allocates the funding today.

A Metropolitan Transportation Commission committee will decide on the $16.7 million request from Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board.

On Monday, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority allocated $4.3 million for the project, which would extend the commuter rail service four miles north to Airport Boulevard when it opens in two years....
Full article: http://pressdemocrat.com/article/201...cles/131219960
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